Darius (video game)
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|CPU||2x Motorola MC68000 @ 8 MHz|
|Sound||2x ZiLOG Z80 @ 4 MHz|
2x Yamaha YM2203
|Display||3x 288x224 Raster, horizontal orientation (864x224 total)|
Darius (ダライアス Daraiasu) is a shoot 'em up arcade game released by Taito in February 1987, although its title screen indicates a 1986 copyright. It is the first game in the Darius series, known for using a unique three-screen arcade cabinet setup, non-linear level design and multiple endings.
Darius is a two-dimensional horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up set in a fictional future. Uniquely among shoot 'em ups, the game's screen is three times wider than conventional size, and the arcade cabinet uses an arrangement of three screens to accommodate it. The player controls an ornate fighter spacecraft, named the Silver Hawk, and must navigate through scrolling terrain while battling a variety of fighter craft, ground vehicles, turrets, and other obstacles throughout the game's stages (referred to as zones in the game). The ship's arsenal consists of forward-firing missiles, aerial bombs and a protective force field, all of which can be upgraded by power-ups (in the form of large, colored orbs) that are dropped by specially-colored enemies throughout the game's zones. When the player reaches the end of a zone, a boss appears, which must be defeated to proceed. Once the boss of a zone is destroyed, the player is given a choice of which zone to play next via a branching path. While there are 28 zones in total, only seven can be played in a single run.
The arcade game features raster graphics on three CRT monitors and amplified stereophonic sound. In order to seamlessly connect the three screens together, two of the monitors, which display the first and last thirds of the game's screen, respectively, are placed in the bottom of the cabinet facing upwards, with their visuals reflected into view via a one-way mirror. The third monitor, which displays the middle portion of the game's screen, is placed behind the mirror and is the only one actually facing the player. The reflection of the two bottom monitors partially overlaps the third monitor, giving the illusion of a seamless wide screen.
Three PC Engine ports were produced by NEC Avenue for the Japanese market in 1990. Super Darius was released for the CD-ROM² System add-on on March 16, followed by Darius Plus as an 8-Megabit HuCard version on September 21. Darius Plus is the only commercially-released HuCard that has enhanced support for the PC Engine SuperGrafx. A third version, Darius Alpha, was released as a sweepstakes giveaway and was limited to only 800 copies. Darius Alpha is an alternate version of Darius Plus where the player fights only the bosses. Like Darius Plus, it has enhanced support for the SuperGrafx. All three PC Engine versions were developed by Bits Laboratory.
During the same year, a home computer version of the game titled Darius+ (unrelated to the similarly-titled PC Engine port) was published by The Edge and developed by Softek for the Amiga, Atari ST and ZX Spectrum in Europe.
In August 2016 the original arcade version was re-released for PlayStation 4 in Japan and other Asian PS-Stores. The port was made by Hamster Corporation and is part of the Arcade Archives on PlayStation 4.
Darius R, a remake of the first Darius game with some different tunes and a fewer number of stages, was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2002.
The game's soundtrack was composed by Hisayoshi Ogura, the founding member of Taito's in-house music division Zuntata. Ogura composed the music with the concept of, "a large existence," that being the large bosses in the game and the expansiveness of the universe. The game's main theme, titled "Chaos", is notable for being one of the earliest examples of avant-garde in video game music. Ogura recalled,
|“||...For its time it was extremely avant-garde music. I assigned this piece the role of Darius's main theme. I'll have them hear something no one's ever heard in a game before! With these kinds of thoughts in mind, I composed a piece with the expressive scale of the beginning of the universe.||”|
|— Hisayoshi Ogura, on composing the game's main theme "Chaos."|
The first stage's theme, called "Captain Neo", is a reworked version of a song from an earlier arcade game by Taito, Metal Soldier Isaac II. When a prototype of Darius was exhibited at a trade show, the song was used as a temporary placeholder. However, upon hearing the song at the trade show, Ogura liked it and decided to keep it: "I was surprised by its overwhelming power, so much that I could feel it in my bones."
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List of sequels
- Darius II (1989, Arcade)
- Darius Twin (1991, SNES)
- Darius Force (1993, SNES)
- Darius Gaiden (1994, Arcade)
- G-Darius (1997, Arcade)
- Darius R (2002, Game Boy Advance)
- Dariusburst (2009, PSP)
- Syvalion (1988): Originally presented as a sequel to Darius. Music from the game appears in Dariusburst.
- Metal Black (1991): Features a number of fish-based machines from Darius. It's a successor to Gun Frontier.
- Border Down (2003): A successor to Metal Black developed by some members of the original team who started their own company, G.rev, to specifically make this game.
- Space Invaders Infinity Gene (2009): Includes an upgrade option to the same craft used in Darius, and has some of the same enemies.
- Greening, Chris (April 2011). "Interview with Hisayoshi Ogura". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
- "Darius". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 31 Oct 2013.
- Kurt Kalata. "Darius". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 2011-01-10.
- Wolf, Mark (2007). The Video Game Explosion: A History from PONG to PlayStation and Beyond. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-313-33868-7.
- Darius at the Killer List of Videogames
- Maughan, Teresa (September 1987). "Slots of Fun". Your Sinclair. Dennis Publishing (21): 81. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
- Edgeley, Clare (March 1987). "Arcade Action". Computer and Video Games (65): 92. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
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- "ダライアスプラス ( ゲーム ) - ゲーム広告資料館 - Yahoo!ブログ" (in Japanese).
- Romano, Sal (August 19, 2015). "Darius Series, Other Taito Classics Coming to PS4 Arcade Archives". Gematsu. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
- Dayus, Oscar (June 5, 2019). "Full Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Mini Games List Confirmed, Includes Some Super-Rare Titles". GameSpot. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
- Darius - Taito Game Music Vol.2 (CD back cover). Zuntata. Japan: Alfa Records. 1987. back cover. 28XA-166.CS1 maint: others (link)
- Darius - Taito Game Music Vol.2 (Vinyl back cover). Zuntata. Japan: Alfa Records. 1987. back cover. ALR-22912.CS1 maint: others (link)
- Darius - Taito Game Music Vol.2 (Cassette back cover). Zuntata. Japan: Alfa Records. 1987. back cover. ALC-22912.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "ZUNTATA OFFICIAL SITE "Z-Field" - アルバムラインアップ" (in Japanese). Taito. Retrieved 7 October 2011.